The RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative) Statewide Advanced Manufacturing STEM/Career Technical Education Consortium, led by Tri-Rivers Career Center, has received $14.99 million dollars through Ohio’s Straight A Fund. This grant will allow Tri-Rivers to partner with eight additional career centers to expand and continue the vision of RAMTEC in order to address the skills gap by preparing high school and adult students with advanced manufacturing and engineering skills.
Tri-Rivers portion of the grant, $3.1 million, will be used for the expansion of RAMTEC as well as renovations related to advanced manufacturing and engineering—building a world class metal fabrication training center, state of the art CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines/tools, relocating and upgrading the current Precision Machining program, purchasing necessary equipment for the Welding program and updates for the RAMTEC Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering program, according to Superintendent Chuck Speelman.
“This grant will benefit high school students, adult education students and will be used to enhance our Incumbent Workers Training programs,” said Speelman.
“This grant emphasizes the importance of collaboration and will benefit the Greater Marion Area and all the schools we serve in Marion, Morrow and Union Counties. I’m excited about that and what it means to students,” said Speelman. “It will not only transform education here but by expanding the RAMTEC vision to the additional career centers, it will help to modernize Ohio’s education system as whole.”
The other eight career centers, who are part of the RAMTEC Consortium, include: Tolles Career & Technical Center, C-TEC (Career and Technical Education Centers of Licking County), Penta Career Center, Pioneer Career & Technology Center, Miami Valley Career Technology Center, Portage Lakes Career Center, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center and Great Oaks Institute of Technology. Each of these Career Centers will receive $1.5 million to build a facility similar to Tri-Rivers’ RAMTEC. The Marion RAMTEC will remain the central training and industrial certification center for Ohio. All instructors in the consortium will receive their training at the Marion RAMTEC.
The Tri-Rivers/RAMTEC grant was one of 34 innovative and cost effective grants recommended by the Straight A Fund Governing Board to be funded in the fiscal year 2015, according to a release from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The recommended grantees estimate savings and spending reductions of $246.7 million over five years. The Governing Board’s rigorous screening process emphasized collaboration and efficiency, according to ODE.
“Ohio’s Straight A Fund has given a big boost to the most innovative of Ohio’s local school districts who recognize that it takes bold, new approaches to equip our students for a more demanding workplace,” said Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction. “Districts collaboration on these creative projects tells me we are becoming more cost-efficient.”
The $250 million Straight A Fund was created in the state budget signed last summer by Gov. John R. Kasich. More than 150 entities received $100 million last year, with $150 million earmarked for new grants this year. The Straight A Fund is part of a $1.6 billion increase in state funding for education over the two year budget cycle.
In all, a total of 662 separate organizations, including 446 public school districts, requested more than $761 million in the second round of the Straight A Fund grant award process. The applicant pool includes 73 percent of Ohio school districts.
Each grant application was first rated by three of approximately 180 independent fiscal scorers selected by the Department of Administrative Services who helped determine if applicants’ ideas were fiscally sustainable. From the original pool of 339 applications, 228 were approved as sustainable and promoted to the next step of the rating process. Each application was then rated by four of approximately 160 independent programmatic scorers selected by the Department of Administrative Services to determine if the proposal was innovative, had substantial value and lasting impact.
After this programmatic review, the Governing Board selected the highest scored applications to be evaluated for cost savings by grant advisors. The approximately 20 grant advisors—professional educators and community and corporate leaders approved by the Governing Board— issued a recommendation on the cost savings of the highest quality applications to the Governing Board who made the final recommendations. The State Controlling Board must give final approval before funds are distributed.
To learn more about Tri-Rivers RAMTEC, visit ramtecohio.com.